By Erin Conroy -- AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Home, sweet home. It's not Bermuda or Barcelona, but you can make it feel like a new locale for your stay-in-the-neighborhood vacation nonetheless.
Whether you plan to spend your summer in your backyard or take a trip to a nearby town, it's important to treat it like any other vacation. Just because you're not heading to the airport doesn't mean you shouldn't research your itinerary or note it on your calendar.
"Make sure that you set aside the time and plan carefully," said Travelocity Senior Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown. "Treat it as if you're going to Paris. The way life tends to be, it could fall by the wayside if there isn't a set plan."
Here are five ways you can make your staycation feel more like a vacation — without emptying your pockets:
- Go out on the town. Check out a park or arts center you've never visited. Most cultural organizations offer free or reduced admission at least once a week, according to Kitty Morgan, executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Scan your newspaper's local classifieds section for free activities or special summer programs for kids, such as an overnight stay at a museum.
The local mall, craft or garden store will likely sponsor special demonstrations or workshops. Bookstores and coffee shops, meanwhile, hold author readings or feature live music. For outdoor activities, check with your local parks department as well as the YMCA or community center, which may have affordable pool memberships.
If you're near a big city, minor league baseball is a cheap way to enjoy the rush of catching a foul ball without breaking the bank. The average cost to buy tickets for a family of four this year is about $55, according to a recent survey of the 160 clubs in the U.S. and Canada. If you live in a smaller town, supporting your local teams could be fun. Even Little League has its exhilarating moments — and it's usually free.
Or, for something a little more luxurious, your itinerary could include a relaxing stay at a historic bed-and-breakfast or a visit to a local winery. Many vineyards and restaurants offer free wine tastings, or discount rates around $2 a glass.